Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining

THE Minerals Council of Australia has launched a policy to combat sexual harassment in the Australian mining industry.
Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining Alarming rate of sexual harassment in Australian mining

MCA CEO Tania Constable

It comes after the Australian Human Rights Commission's Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry (2020) found that 40% of the minerals industry workforce had experienced some form of workplace sexual harassment in the past five years.

Women, which account for just under a fifth of the national mining workforce, were more than twice as likely as men to be sexually harassed.

The statistics mirrored a 2014 study by Canada's Mining Industry Human Resources Council, which  found that nearly 40% of women working on mine sites reported having experienced harassment in the last five years.

MCA CEO Tania Constable said the figures made it clear the industry needed to lead a decisive response and take stronger action.

"This includes expanding the scope of the minerals industry's safety and health policy and releasing a strong and direct statement on the importance of eliminating sexual harassment in Australian mining workplaces," she said.

"Safety is the core value of the Australian minerals industry and a safe and fair workplace is essential."

The MCA today launched the Safe, Healthy and Respectful Workplaces policy is focused on building and sustaining respectful workplaces, and combined with the industry's commitment to eliminating sexual harassment - endorsed by the MCA board - will ensure Australian mining companies can work together to end unacceptable and illegal behaviour.

"Our workers are our greatest asset and must be valued, respected and protected," Constable said.

The MCA established a Respect@Work Taskforce to broaden its safety and health policy and develop a commitment to eliminating sexual harassment, which reports to the MCA National Safety and Health Working Group.

"Sending a clear message across the industry and the community that sexual harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated will put the sector on the right path for change," Constable said.

"The industry's commitment will be implemented through an industry code and toolkit to establish clear expectations and protocols on preventing and responding to sexual harassment in our workplaces."

The mining industry has already indicated it has taken steps to address the issue.

Data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency released in November showed the sector was ahead in policies to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination, with 100% of companies having a formal policy, ahead of 98.6% across all industries, and 91.7% provided training for all managers, compared to 88.5% for all industries.